I have become increasingly amazed at the power of parenting. Perhaps it is because as a a pastor I see this displayed over and again. Or maybe it is because I see my own children duplicate the traits and characteristics that their own parent displayed before them. (ouch)Whatever the reason, I am deeply convinced that we hold unimaginable sway upon the lives of our children. We create a future for them whether we understand that we are doing it or not.
That fact alone is enough to scare the pants off of most of us. We want things to be genetically engineered. Recent illicit attempts in the media to blame basic character issues on genetics have come up dry and been found wanting. There have been attempts to find a "faith" gene, a "gay" gene, and a "fat" gene. People are fat because they eat too much and exercise too little. People are homosexual because they choose that lifestyle (often due to childhood trauma) and they have faith because they choose to exercise it spiritually. As much as we would like to be a nation of victims we aren't predetermined in that way.
We react to the lives our parents lived before us- either positively or negatively. The littlest things in this fragile society send people spinning out of control. previous generations were a little thick skinned compared to our current fragility. These were pioneers. But alas, this generation is reacting to what it sees in its leaders and parents.
So What? Well it becomes increasingly clear that we need to live our lives in such a way that the Lord is glorified and the watching generations are not caused to stumble. Jesus was pretty hard on those who cause little ones to stumble. (Mt 18.6) For some reason we don't preach that verse to parents- but we should. Then maybe the parents would stop exaggerating, or living double lives in front of their children, or trying to manipulate these little lives instead of educate and motivate them. It might end childhood sexual traumas and abuse. It might create strong believers in all age groups because one thing is for sure- the acorn doesn't fall far from the oak tree.